The enthusiasm coupled with joy among those whose vehicles participated in The Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally 2019 here today was hugely infectious: It swept through the entire route of the rally, charming and mesmerising car enthusiasts and passers-by everywhere.
A maroon vintage car, Austin Chummy, 1928, seemed to be a cynosure of all eyes. This car, owned by Prem Sharma, has been taking part in the Statesman rally since 1995. It was driven by Sharma’s daughter Akansha, 25, in today’s rally.
“It is a bit difficult to drive this vintage vehicle but the fun you get by driving it is awesome,” said Akansha who has been taking part in the Statesman vintage car show for the past four years. Austin Chummy, 1928, was bought by Akansha’s grandfather many years ago. “This year I have improved my skills for driving vintage cars as compared to earlier years,” said Akansha, adding “you need to keep patience while driving a vintage car.”
She learnt the technique of driving a vintage vehicle from her father, who accompanied her as a passenger in the car during today’s rally. Prem Sharma has also been taking part in the Statesman vintage rally since 1995 along with his elder brother. Like last year, Sharma’s cousin, Ruchi Bharda Jain, came from Indore this year too just to take part in the Statesman rally. Today, Jain drove a Fiat Balilla, 1934. Last year, she had driven a Singer Bantam in the rally. “You have to be very focused and extra cautious while driving these vintage cars as their steering, brakes etc are different from modern cars,” Jain said. “It is a marvelous experience to take part in the rally, you get a lot of attention while driving these cars”, she added.
“It is difficult to change the gears of Balilla. Also, there are no indicators. But, I feel proud after driving the car,” Jain said, adding it was like completing a mission. Another participant in the rally, Manik Singh, a resident of Gurgaon, has been taking part in the Statesman event along with his father since 2010.
This year Manik brought three vintage cars from Gurgaon to participate in the rally. One of them, Packard, 1938, was driven by his father Gurpreet Singh, 65. He drove another vintage beauty Rolls-Royce, 1928, himself, even as they hired a driver to drive a Rolls- Royce Phantom, 1928. They had driven these cars from Gurgaon to Delhi to take part in today’s rally. “Taking part in this rally is a passion for our family members,” Manik said.